Tidbits From the QRP History Book

I've been reading, in small doses, "The History of QRP in the U.S., 1924 - 1960" by Adrian Weiss, W0RSP. So after reading about some of the beginnings of the QRP movement it is interesting to note in 1924, QST Technical Editor, Robert S. Kruse, 1XAM, went on the offensive in  promoting low power operation. His methods however were a little different than might be tried  today.

It seems that Kruse felt that American operators had become too enamored with high power operation and that the QRM and inefficiencies of high power operation were precluding the "grassroots" operator from even hearing DX stations. Weiss writes,

 "QST continually derided the abuse of power among American amateurs by coining a long list of derogatory epithets for the high power types. Such names as "watt-hog", "ether buster", "tribe of ampere hounds", "ampere chaser", "thunder factory', "watt burner" and "most miles per gallon" flowed across the pages of QST, leaving little doubt as to the attitude of the QST staff, and presumably the ARRL, to combat the developing dependence upon brute power by American amateurs in place of the ideals embodied in the QRP Operator...."

In, December 1923, the very first QRP contest, The Station Efficiency Contest, was announced with this subtitle, "Miles Per Watt: An Argument For The Small Set and For Intelligence In Place of Brute Force" Weiss comments, "In other words, the use of low power was inextricably linked with intelligence and diametrically opposite to high power"

Further Kruse argued, "...what if his brute power does let him cover 4,000 miles, isn't he still inferior to the other man who handled his power correctly and went twice as far per watt?"

So there you have it, QRP operation = Intelligence.

Need we say more;-)

The book goes into much more detail about the attack on high power operation and rising credibility of the QRP operator in those early days. Interesting reading and entertaining as well.

Mike Crownover, AD5A, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Texas, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

One Response to “Tidbits From the QRP History Book”

  • Dave K1THP:

    Ades book is a classic for qrp enthusiasts. You should also read DeSotos 200 Meters and Down. The early days had a lot of QRP operation although not at the 5 watts level we recognize today. Back then qrp was 100 watts or less and things stayed that way until around 1977. But thats another book by Ade.
    Dave K1THP

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